It was an early start to the day for me. So much on my mind lately and sleep hasn’t taken priority with all the pondering, praying, soul-searching, and praying some more. Our youngest daughter had a rough night (not feeling well), so after getting her settled back down I looked at my phone and it was 4:30am. My thoughts were already racing and I knew my chances for getting back to sleep were slim. I decided to go ahead and get up and go to my early morning barre class, be home again, and have my coffee in hand before the rest of the family even set their feet on the floor.
So what exactly is keeping me awake at night? When we began our adoption journey last summer we prayed for God to give us “Faith Without Borders,” (hence our fundraising t-shirt design. 😉 Just simply stepping out and sharing with our family and friends that we would be growing our family through an international adoption was a HUGE (fearful) step we took as a family.
I want to share that this was a fearful step, for me in particular, partly because I was afraid of what people might say. “Whoa, you already have 5 kids.” “Don’t you have a hard enough time with the ones you have?” “Where are you going to put another one?” “How are you going to afford this?” And, people did say these things. They also said things like, “wow, you guys are amazing for doing this,” “you have such a beautiful family,” “you must be really organized,” “how do you do it all?” It’s been a crazy balancing act between thoughts of condemnation AND humility that I’ve had to work out…over and again!
So, we took the first step, I like to say, “out of the boat, like Peter.” In my mind, I was thinking the rest of the steps should get a lot easier, right? I guess, I forgot about what happened to Peter (Matthew 14) after he stepped out onto the waves to walk towards Jesus, you all know; he began to sink! Why? Because when he realized where he was and what he was doing I guess he began to freak out a little bit. In his panic, he took his eyes off of his master and was consumed with the circumstance he found himself in. His fear took over and Peter went under. Jesus said to him, as he immediately reached down to grab him, “you have so little faith, why did you doubt me.”
Today, 8 months into our adoption journey, our prayer to have “faith without borders” has us wrestling with those borders! You see, God has placed before us a sweet, adorable little one year old girl in need of a family. The first time we saw her face we were smitten. Two weeks ago, on February 22, (her actual 1st birthday) we began the AOR process to consider moving forward with her adoption. We are waiting for the official match to come, but we expect this to be happening soon. We now have seen the face of our child, our daughter, and she waits for us in China.
This is exciting, of course! However, the part about borderless faith…
Our little girl is living with Down Syndrome.
Friends, I have struggled with this. Taking the next step of faith when the “fear of unknowns and what ifs” creep up, has been down right frightening to me. Everyday for the last two weeks I’ve asked Jeff, “Can we do this?” I have so many inadequacies, why God? Why choose me? Why choose us? There are moments, instead of taking courage, I’ve selfishly thought it would be so much easier to just give up –turn and run– or, stay in bed and hide under the covers. People would understand if we didn’t follow through. We could simply wait for a child that has a minor or correctible special need. But, each time I get to this point through my tearful thoughts and prayers, God has calmed my fears and reassured me in ways only He can.
I’d like to share some of the amazing things He has done for us specifically just in the past 2 weeks.
February 20: Through one of my amazing brothers we made a connection with a local pediatric cardiologist who has done many adoption reviews for families in the past. These reviews tend to fall in the $350-$450 range per review and he reviewed our file for free. He also put us in contact with a local family who has 7 daughters! 5 of them have been adopted from China.
February 22: Began AOR (referral process)
February 23: Applied for the Special Treasures Grant
February 24: Less than 24 hours after applying for the Grant we heard back that we’d received $4,000 which is the exact amount needed for the referral stage!
March 3: God provided 4 brand new tires for Jeff’s Tahoe (which were desperately needed, but we had zero money saved for them)
March 4: Remember the awesome family with the 7 daughters we were introduced to? We were honored to shoot one of their weddings on this day. It was an amazing orchestration of events that only God could have brought together in 4 days so quickly and seamlessly. Their photographer had an emergency and couldn’t make it and we happened to have a free weekend! It was such a special day, spent with an extraordinary family, witnessing a beautiful marriage begin!
March 5: Had a freak out moment this evening and wrote an email to our caseworker asking for some answers to our questions about our child and possibly updated photos and videos of her. (Up to this point we had her file that contained only a handful of photos and a 30 second video of her. I was feeling kind of blind in the process and was really wanting more current information to help us make this giant decision.)
March 6: On Jeff’s birthday I woke before 5am to find we had an email from our caseworker saying within THE HOUR of receiving my email our agency received all the answers to our questions AND updated videos from China. She shared the videos which brought huge smiles to our faces to watch our little one scooting around, dancing in her bumbo seat, giving five and smiling! And does she have an amazing smile! We don’t believe in coincidence, but answered prayer and special ways God gets our attention to remind us that He sees us and loves us.
March 7: Our 2 week AOR is coming to a close and a decision must be made to move forward or not. Following dinner, a tearful “Can we do this?” came out of my mouth again. We began talking very openly about all of our fears about adopting a child with DS. I shared that I’m scared to death to move forward and I’m scared to death to not move forward. Ultimately, we want to be obedient to God’s leading. We spent time praying for God to help us and guide us in our decision and were reminded of a couple verses He placed before us over the past two days: 2 Thessalonians 3:5 (MSG) “May the Master take you by the hand and lead you along the path of God’s love and Christ’s endurance.” And, Psalm 119:7 “stay the course and walk steadily on the road revealed by God.” God even blew me away more when during those moments following our prayer to Him. Cue the tears… He went as far as to have another adoptive mama of a precious boy living with DS share her testimony on our agencies China adoptions FB page. She shared how they never even considered DS, but God had other plans and they are so thankful He did because they just love him so much.
This is where we are right now. Before Jeff left for work this morning I asked, “How did we get here?” I’m not going to lie, its an uncomfortable place we have found ourselves in. We’re definitely out of the “status quo” comfort-zone we’re accustomed to. We are determined to allow God to grow and stretch us as we exercise our faith one step at a time through this journey. We are also choosing right now to give Him the glory for His faithfulness in seeing us through whatever the outcome may be.
Thanks so much for following along with us and if you are lead to pray with us we’d be so grateful. We will keep you posted as we continue along the path to China! Can’t wait to reveal her to you when we get the green light.